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About Rabies

Rabies is a virus that invades the central nervous system and produces an acute, progressive encephalitis that ends in death.

Rabies is usually transmitted via the saliva of a rabid animal, through a bite, through contamination of scratch wounds or via mucosal membranes.

Rabies occurs only in mammals — not fish, birds, reptiles or amphibians. In the United States, rabies is primarily a disease of wild animals, especially raccoons, bats, skunks and foxes.¹

Rabies can be transmitted from infected animals to humans (zoonosis), which makes it a serious public health concern.

Zoonosis
  • It’s everybody’s business. The zoonotic dimension of rabies makes it a serious public health risk, and a reportable disease under applicable laws and regulations.

¹Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/epidemiology.html. Accessed March 10, 2008.

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